Affecting more than 15 million patients in Europe and the United States, heart failure is associated with tremendously high healthcare costs and remains the largest unmet clinical need in the cardiovascular world.

Two Israeli startups working on solutions to this massive problem were among the three finalists in the Cardiovascular Research Foundation’s Shark Tank Innovation competition held at the 2017 TCT Conference in Denver, Colorado, earlier this month.

The criteria for participation in the prestigious competition are uniqueness and intellectual property; the potential to make a change; the professional staff; and the ability to bring the product to market. Hundreds of companies from all over the world applied to the competition and 50 were chosen to continue.

Shark Tank judges chose as the winner Enopace Biomedical of Caesarea. It is developing Harmony, a minimally invasive implantable neurostimulation device that increases cardiac efficiency by reducing left ventricular workload. The company was founded in 2008 by Rainbow Medical Group.

Third place went to Paragate Medical, a startup of NGT3 incubator in Nazareth. Headed by cardiologist Dr. Yair Feld and biomedical engineer Nitai Hanani, Paragate is developing an implantable device programmed to remove continuously the excess fluids produced in patients with heart failure or kidney disease so that the fluids do not accumulate and cause breathing difficulties and other serious complications.

Another Israeli company recently brought home an award. Cognata of Rehovot was named the Best Young Company in Israel at NVIDIA’s GPU Technology Conference (GTC Israel), winning the Inception Award for the most innovative use of artificial intelligence and deep learning in its simulation platform for testing and validating autonomous vehicles.

The award was a highlight of GTC Israel, part of a global series of events hosted by NVIDIA and held in Israel for the first time this year “to shine a spotlight on the next generation of rising stars.”

The startups competing for the Inception Awards had to be based in Israel, founded within the last two years, and having raised no more than $5 million in funding. Cognata was founded in 2016.

As the winning company, Cognata and its CEO, Danny Atsmon, received an NVIDIA DGX Station, a new personal supercomputer designed for leading-edge AI development.